Reviews Without a Purchase: Low Ratings, Loyal Customers, and Deception
Author(s)Anderson, Eric T.; Simester, Duncan
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We document that approximately 5% of product reviews on the website of a large private label retailer are submitted by customers for which there is no record they have purchased the product they are reviewing. These reviews are significantly more negative than other reviews. They are also less likely to contain expressions describing the fit or feel of the items, but more likely to contain linguistic cues associated with deception. The reviews without confirmed transactions are written by over twelve thousand of the firm’s best customers, who on average have each made over 150 purchases from the firm. This makes it very unlikely that the reviews are written by the employees or agents of a competitor, suggesting that deceptive reviews may not be limited to just the strategic actions of firms. Instead, the phenomenon may be far more prevalent, extending to individual customers who have no financial incentive to influence product ratings.
DepartmentSloan School of Management
Journal of Marketing Research
American Marketing Association
Anderson, Eric T., and Simester, Duncan I. “Reviews Without a Purchase: Low Ratings, Loyal Customers, and Deception.” Journal of Marketing Research 51, 3 (June 2014): 249–269 © 2014 American Marketing Association